Movie Review: Olympus Has Fallen

Ratings for reviews will appear above the fold, while the review itself will appear below the fold to avoid spoilers for anyone that wants to go into it with a blank slate.

Jean-Paul’s rating: 4/5 stars

An incredibly flawed but immensely fun movie.

This is what an action film should be.  “Olympus Has Fallen” runs right up to the line of preposterousness and crosses that line in ways that you don’t even realize until after the movie is over.  It follows your basic action hero plot; hero acts heroic but is punished for it, hero ends up in the right place at the right time (or is that wrong place?), hero saves day by exacting death on many, many individuals, hero is redeemed in the eyes of those he once hurt.

I’m not sure any action scene will ever be able to compare to the lobby scene in “The Matrix”, but the siege of the White House in “Olympus Has Fallen” is a choreographical gem.  It is laughably impossible for a medium sized group of people to assault and take the White House, but Antoine Fuqua makes it look possible.  It is a beauty to behold.

The flaws in the movie don’t really come out until afterwards when you’ve actually had time to discuss it.  Like,  what was the purpose of Dylan McDermott’s character?  Or, why bring up the fact that some of the terrorist’s equipment is U.S. military top secret issue?  I assume that there was a lot left on the cutting room floor and some of this is actually explained, but we’ll have to wait for the director’s cut to find out the answers, I guess.

My one complaint about the movie would be that the head villain wasn’t terribly interesting.  Don’t get me wrong, he was sufficiently villain-y, but there weren’t any of those great evil one-liners that we have come to expect from our action villains.  My theory is that they found in test audiences that people couldn’t really identify with the villain because he’s fairly anonymously Asian.  There was this one scene where they show him in close up taking off his sunglasses.  I’m sure it didn’t last the minute that it felt like it lasted, but it seemed to be thrown in there so the audience would be able to identify him from the other anonymous Asians who were slated to die.

If you want a fun action movie, this is the movie to see.  Just don’t go thinking about it too much while you’re watching it.  To Antoine Fuqua’s credit, he doesn’t really give you much time to think.